8 MAY 7, 2020 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Owner of long-standing Glendale
auto shop dies at 95
BY JACOB KAYE
Al Porcelli, a Brooklyn native who was an
auto-mechanic, owner of a long-standing
Glendale auto repair shop and fierce advocate
for the collision-industry, died on Tuesday,
April 7 of natural causes. He was 95.
Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Porcelli began working
in an auto-electric shop next to his parent’s
Atlantic Avenue home at the age of 10. By the time
he graduated high school, he had become a master
at servicing cars.
After high school, Porcelli joined the Navy during
World War II and soon became a top fighteraircraft
mechanic at Pearl Harbor. Four years
later, he returned home to Brooklyn and began
working at a collision shop in Queens.
It was during this time Porcelli married his
neighbor and childhood-sweetheart Orrie, with
whom he had three sons; Michael, Dennis and
Porcelli began working toward opening up his
own shop and in 1949, with his co-worker and
fellow-veteran Henry Keller, did just that.
Central Avenue Collision Works, a 2-car garage
on Central Avenue and Cypress Hills Street
in Glendale, would move locations five years
later to a much larger, fully-equipped facility just
across the street.
Al’s oldest son Michael would soon
become Porcelli’s partner and the pair
worked together until 1990, when Al retired.
Central Avenue Collision Works
is now run by Michael’s son, the third
generation of Porcelli ownership.
One of Porcelli’s biggest goals in life
was advocating for the collision industry
and educating others about it.
Around 1960, he helped form the Auto-
Body-Craftsmen’s-Guild of New York City,
one of the earliest collision trade associations.
Porcelli served in every leadership
position in the organization and was the
longest-surviving Guild founder.
Porcelli spent over 60 years advocating
for better trade-education in public
schools and within the industry.
He testified during numerous government
hearings on behalf of the industry,
vehicle safety and consumer protection
Porcelli was an advocate for Automotive
Service Excellence testing, so much so that
he created a testing site in the Guild’s office in
Glendale and encouraged all Guild members to
For the past 30 years, Porcelli worked as the
editor of the Guild’s magazine, the Bulletin, for
which he wrote hundreds of articles. He was a
self-taught researcher and author.
Customers and friends of Porcelli’s are encouraged
to reach out to Michael Porcelli and share
stories of his father by phone at 718-821-7868 or
by email at email@example.com.
Longtime Middle Village resident dies months
before 100th birthday
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
Thelma M. Macaluso, a lifelong resident of
Middle Village, passed away on April 18, just
a few months prior to her 100th birthday.
“She passed away at my sister’s home in Texas,
very peacefully,” said Tom Macaluso, owner of
the family-owned real estate company, Macaluso
He added his mother did not pass away due to the
novel coronavirus, “which was a blessing.”
“When you get 99.75 years of life, you’ve traveled
this earth. Good job,” he said.
Thelma was born on July 10, 1920. Macaluso
remembers his mother as “the original queen of
the block,” as she lived in the same home she moved
into as a young, married woman from 1946 until
“She lived here in Middle Village with her parents
on 77th Place and she then moved right across
Juniper Park on 77th Street in a brand-new house
at the time,” Macaluso said, adding she still owned
the same home at the time of her passing.
Thelma got married to Joseph C. Macaluso in
1945 at the Resurrection Ascension Parish in Rego
Park. But before that, she enlisted in the Navy to
serve her country during
World War II — against her
father’s wishes, Tom noted.
“She was funky,” he said,
In the ’70s, she went back
to work and later became
an insurance broker in
the ’80s. Thelma was a
prolifi c painter, a docent at
the Queens Museum, and
an avid member of St. Margaret’s
“She was a loving spirit,
never had a bad thing to say
about anybody,” Macaluso
said. “The letters that we’re getting, we didn’t realize
how many people’s lives she touched.”
Just a week before she passed, she worked as
a seamstress at her daughter’s quilting studio in
The Macaluso family is spread out in four states
— New York, Connecticut, New Mexico and Texas —
but aft er she passed they came together to celebrate
“At exactly 1:20 p.m. the next day, everybody
poured a drink and made a toast to her. It was
wonderful,” Macaluso said. “She was a cool lady
The Macaluso family plans to continue the
celebration in her Middle Village home once the
pandemic settles down.
“We’re gonna have one hell of a party,” Macaluso
said, adding that they will later deal with selling
the home. “We know a good real estate broker who
can help her with that — me.”
Thelma is survived by fi ve children, 11 grandchildren
and eight great-grandchildren.